Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Photo Management Chain of Pain on Windows

Om writes up his experiences with the new release of Picassa 2, the Windows photo management app that Google bought. He finds it to be the iPhoto for Windows. I remember reading an interview with Picasa recently where the question was raised about cross-platform. The Picassa person basically responded with: "Have you seen iPhoto on the Mac?". Us people on the Mac forget how easy things are some times.

And then when Om said "I find Flickr a wee bit confounding, and so do some of my non-techie friends", a few things came clear. Even with technical people (i.e. people I talked to at BBS05), Flickr was confusing or hard. All those people were on Windows, and faced a "chain of pain" in downloading, managing, and uploading their pictures (plug in camera, manually copy photos into file system, organize locally with something that isn't iPhoto, manually resize photos, select photos in file system, drop on Uploadr, upload). Something which, on the Mac, we tend to forget: iPhoto is the center of photo goodness, and with the iPhoto plug-in that allows uploading directly to Flickr, our needs are complete.

I've always found Flickr easiest to explain if I actually sit someone down for 10 minutes and just show them how to use it and what is possible. Everyone doesn't have their own personal Boris, so this obviously doesn't scale.

So what else can Flickr do? I think more in the direction of Rich Internet Apps. Break the Organizr out of the browser, add an uploader to it, and stick it on Windows desktops. I mean, they haven't had to invest any money in Mac support, because of all the software that has been written for free -- from the Flickr iPhoto plug-in to the incredible 1001.

So, fix the chain of pain for Windows users. It may seem obvious to experienced Flickr users, but it isn't for the vast majority. Make it dead simple. Put lots of features on the desktop. And make it a non/minimal install cross-platform thingie (Flash makes the most sense).

I'll have more to say on the chain of pain on Windows with regards to blogging, where I (finally) push some love towards Qumana.

(Interesting aside: I don't link to Flickr anymore because I assume everybody knows about it already, the same way I don't link to Google)